On August 24 and 25, 2018, we visited Chama, New Mexico for the Trains Photo Charter. In addition to the special, I also shot 489 and 463. This was the first time I've seen 463 in action.
D&RGW 463 is a 3 foot narrow gauge, Mikado type, 2-8-2 steam railway locomotive built for the Denver and Rio Grande Railroad by the Baldwin Locomotive Works in 1903. It is one of two remaining locomotives of D&RGW class K-27. The class eventually became known by the nickname "Mudhens".
Fifteen locomotives were built, originally class 125, then reclassified K-27 in 1924 when the D&RG became the Denver and Rio Grande Western Railroad. The K-27s were built as Vauclain compounds, with two cylinders on each side, expanding the steam once in the smaller cylinder and then a second time in the larger one. The extra maintenance costs of the two cylinders were greater than the fuel saving, so they were converted to simple expansion in 1907–1909. They were Rio Grande's last purchase of compound locomotives. They pulled freight, passenger and mixed trains on the D&RGW in and over the Colorado Rocky Mountains, traversing the entire length of the railroad. They were built with their main structural frames outside the driving wheels, with the counterweights and rods attached outside the frames.
No. 463 was sold to cowboy actor and singer Gene Autry in May 1955. Autry never used the engine and donated it to the town of Antonito, Colorado. It was restored by and entered into service on the Cumbres and Toltec Scenic Railroad in 1994. It was taken out of service with a broken side rod in 2002. In 2009, it was moved to the railroad's shop at Chama, New Mexico where a major rebuild was taken until completion in Spring 2013. On May 20, 2013, the restored locomotive made its inaugural run on the C&TS.
463 was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1975 as Engine No. 463.